Alleged Defamation: It’s Not True, Journalist Was Not Harassed Nor Extorted – Sen. Bassey Otu

In Breaking News, Civic Space, CrossRiverWatch Podcast, Reports

By CrossRiverWatch Admin

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Sen. Bassey Otu, the former lawmaker accused of spearheading the arrest and extortion of Mr. Ekpo Victor Ita, publisher of CrossRiverTimes has described the report as untrue.

Sen. Otu stated this through his lawyer, Barr. Ekpenyong Akiba while narrating what had transpired in a telephone interview with CrossRiverWatch said Mr. Ita is painting a pathetic picture to attract sympathy.

Barr. Ekpenyong said the Police never harassed nor extorted the journalist as insinuated, adding that he was let go after making his statement regarding the allegation of being used to defame the character of Sen. Otu.

According to him, “Investigation shows that Silverbird’s Jide Onanira worked with Silverbird Ekpo Ita in Calabar, that the strategy is; they sit down in Calabar and generate information so that they won’t be caught. They send it to Lagos to Jide and Jide will now call a blogger here in Calabar, send money using David Takon’s name to publish.

“At that point, Ekpo Ita was mentioned. When they updated me, I told Ekpo Ita that I will personally call him and come with him to the Police because he is my friend and the Police said if I can do that I should let them know. So I called the Police and I called Ekpo Ita, he said he is in his office. The Police came and we blew in his car to the station. When he made his statement, because he was becoming uncomfortable I said no, you’re my brother go and tell them what you know and I can assure you you’re coming back together because people are always afraid of how Nigerian Police will behave at the end of the day.

“I was with him and another colleague of his – Ekpo Okon Edet who is an SA to the Governor, he was the person who took him on bail as a reliable surety. I, Ekpo Ita, and Okon Edet, together, came out from the station; we even had lunch together.”

Mr. Victor Ekpo Ita, Publisher of CrossRiverTimes.

He further stated that “I want to clear that impression of how he was harassed, there was nothing like harassment. In my own eyes, it was even him that told the IPO when you’re free to come to my office, I will give you ten thousand naira. 

“There are linkages between Hope Obeten of CalabarBlog, Ekpo Ita of CrossRiverTimes, the Jide in Silverbird Lagos, and the person that did the disclaimer; we have on our own insisted that there is one big masquerade because I don’t see Ekpo Ita doing anything against Sen. Bassey Otu, that is why Prince Otu have nothing against him, I don’t see the boy in Abuja – Godfrey Obeten doing anything against Prince; there is someone behind all these people that is the bigger masquerade that is sending out this defamatory information against his image just to see how his reputation he has built over the years can be dragged into the mud; it is not something we just close our eyes. It is unethical for you to publish such defaming information from a source you can not hold to say this is the publisher or writer.

Mr. Hope Obeten, Publisher of CalabarBlog

“The way Ekpo Ita is painting it to people is untrue, how the Police are harassing him and all that is untrue. We know his other name is ‘Viruz’ and we know too well that CrossRiverTimes is his platform, we also know he works with Silverbird. Anyone is a suspect until proven otherwise. I escorted him there knowing the position of the law, made sure he came out and we did not spend up to 30 minutes or one hour at the station. We should be truthful even in the face of whatever we are experiencing. If you on your own decide to give the Police money, maybe you’re afraid because I did not see any other pressure or bail.”

Concluding he said: “We are just trying to use the Police by way of investigation to see if we can get to the source. Jide now is on alert because we have also given a signal to the Lagos Police Command, he is not taking his calls. I want you people to make the public understand that there is misinformation with the subject at hand as far as the blackmail is concerned because his platform was used, and there is a link between him and Silverbird haven worked with Silverbird and this is coming from a staff of Silverbird called Jide.

“Hope Obeten of CalabarBlog has admitted that they published wrongly about Prince Otu and they apologized and he (Ekpo Ita) promised to apologize after he was released from the Police, he is coming to give false information; it is not true and I want that to be quoted categorically.”

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